Planet Rocktober: Walter Trout/Kris Barass Band/Dan Patlansky/Rebecca Downes -
O2 Academy, Sheffield, Saturday October 12th, 2019.
Another first for Sheffield and for Metalliville Zine as well when Planet Rock hit the City for a night of the blues that had exceptional sound and impeccable lighting to match – they don't spare no expenses this Radio Show and rightly so which such an amazing pool of roots-filled talent on the bill.
Set List: Take Me Higher/Hurt/Believe/Sailing On A Pool Of Tears.
This lady was a last minute replacement on the bill since original opener, Mollie Marriott had to pull out due to illness (well she is only human after all) but Rebecca Downes miraculously took her place within about two days notice. Ms. D, like Mollie has played before in Sheffield and gone down an absolute storm with this short four song performance being no slide in quality either.
Rebecca has an extremely powerful voice and completely nails it with her songs in a warm, acoustic format with 'Hurt' being a great soulful ringer of a tune and the delta-like slide-filled 'Believe'. This Birmingham born lady sure proves she is worth her salt on this stage and worth seeing as a headliner (both electric and unplugged) if tonight is anything to go by.
Set List: Johnny (with instrumental intro)/You Upset Me (BB King)/Heartbeat/Big Things Going Down/Bring The World To Its Knees.
Up next is a slick young kid in the form of Dan Patlansky who likes to show off a little doing his set and also likes to pose a little for us too and originates from South Africa of all places. Not somewhere you'd usually associate with the blues at all but it goes to show doesn't it?
He comes equipped with a throaty voice that manages to cut through the mix regardless immediately with 'Johnny' with the closing cut 'Bring The World To Its Knees' being the showstopper that comes complete with warm, waling organ and killer guitar licks and some tapping tricks in there too! I'm sure this cat will be back in town in 2020.
Set List: Ignite (Light It Up)/Counterfeit People/Rock 'N' Roll Running Through My Veins/What You Get/Vegas Son/Watching Over Me/Devil's Done Alright/Hail Mary.
This aspiring Bluesman, Kris Barass has become a name that has become impossible to miss over the last year or two as it seems every other festival seems to want him on their bill. The former pro cage fighter can surely pack a punch when it comes to axe slinging and has some major vocal pipes to match too.
In a short space of time he has managed to create a massive fanbase, many of which are here tonight to cheer him on throughout his performance. He lights it up straight away with his flamboyant and ballsy six-string assault and big husky to high-ended voice capturing the crowd in here in a few seconds flat.
Highlights include the USA Radio Friendly 'Counterfeit People'; the Southern like 'Rock N Roll Running Through My Veins' the poppy blues rock of 'Devil's Done Alright' or the closing country-pickin' riffed 'Hail Mary'.
What a performer, I am now sold on this dude now – definitely an artist that grows on you – see ya at another venue just up the road from here!
Set List: I Can Tell/Me, My Guitar And The Blues (Jimmy Dawkins)/Saw My Mama Cryin'/Welcome The The Human Race/Fly Away/Almost Gone/Common Ground/Gonna Hurt Like Hell/Playin' Hideaway/I Shall Be Released (Bob Dylan)/The Best You Got/Going Down (The Alabama State Troopers).
Well what can be said that hasn't already been said about this absolute supreme Bluesman of the 20th and now 21st Century since not many can come close to his absolutely mesmerising and utterly mind-blowing flowing guitar work and gutsy voice to match. I know it sounds so damn cliched but this cat can make a guitar talk!
Apart from the man himself, what also struck me immediately was the cream of the crop brilliance of his band that featured the legendary Teddy 'Zig Zag' Andreadis of Guns 'N' Roses fame on the keys, making it even more of a great reason to have come to the show.
He even blew out some top dollar harp at one point too during the cracking 'Almost Gone' – magnificent! His Bassist and Drummer weren't too shabby either in the form of Johnny 'Blackout' Griparic & Micheal Leasure respectively – in fact they were effin immense!
90 or so minutes seem to go in about 5 when Trout is in town because he takes you on this incredible musical journey of soaring, soulful and emotional songs of varied tempos but all from the deep notions of the blues plus varied stories behind various songs. Many of those talking moments are so incredibly emotional especially when he talks about how he lost his memory and ability to play and had to relearn from scratch which took many months.
Or how he was inspired by his near death experience whereby the actually left his body, looked down on it and was asked by angels if he wanted to live or not – he said he wanted to live and shot back into his body again and felt immediately like dogsh*t – his words, not mine that inspired the stomping 'Fly Away' from the 'Battle Scars' album.
Walter also told us what it was like dealing with a war veteran stepdad who used to drink bad and beat his Mum up, causing him and his Brother to hide away from him before the moderate tempo'd of 'Saw My Mama Cryin' – they say the blues often comes from traumatic experiences – you aren't kidding.
Other highlights of the whole set apart from all of it (but that's too easy to say that, although true) are the opening fired up from the first note 'I Can Tell' where his Fender Stratocaster is rawed and wailed up to the max, especially during the solo; the gorgeous balled 'Common Ground'; the gutsy ZZ Top meets Status Quo like 'Playin' Hideaway' or the beautiful tear-jerking cover of Bob Dylan's Gospel classic 'I Shall Be Released'.
At the end of the show there was an encore with a to-die-for jam where they did a stonkin' version of 'Going Down' that was made famous by the legendary Jeff Beck that saw both Dan Patlansky & Kris Barras joining him on stage and his Tour Manager, Andrew Elt (formerly of Sleeze Beez) also joined on Guitar/Vocals.
It's not often I am really buzzed after a gig but this one was definitely one of those many rare occasions that doesn't happen very often when you review as many gigs over the years as what I have done. He makes it look easy which is the mark of a fine guitarist and then there was his ambling on the stage and those amazing faces that he pulls while in the Solo zones.
In the top ten of best ever covered shows for sure – now that's some bold statement right there! We were even treated to a complimentary meet and greet here after the show – the way it should be!
Review by Glenn Milligan
Photographs by Glenn Milligan & Steve Cooper